Last week, before the Easter holiday, Customs and Border Protection put out a reminder that Kinder Eggs, those delicious chocolate confections with little collectible toys inside, are illegal in the U.S. because of the danger they pose to dumb kids. Although the toy is encased in a plastic capsule, federal authorities say “young children can choke on it” and therefore the candy is “too dangerous” for the American market. In 2011, CBP says it confiscated 60,0000 of the eggs. Anyone caught in possession of the outlaw treats risks a $300 fine and whole lot of hassles, as one couple experienced firsthand as they attempted to cross the border from Canada recently. NACLA editor Michael Fox says he and his were detained for two hours after authorities discovered a singular egg during a routine inspection and so he did some math which puts this egregious waste of resources into context:
If you figure that at least two hours is spent on the paperwork, processing, and destruction of every confiscated chocolate egg, that means that in 2011 alone the CBP spent 120,000 work-hours fighting Easter. That is equal to 15,000 work-days. In the middle of an economic crisis, while budgets are being slashed, CBP officers are wasting taxpayer money, their time, and our time, seizing Easter eggs. Sadly, even the officers know it.
“I just have to keep telling myself that I am confiscating something that could potentially hurt a child,” said the officer before us, shaking his head, as he worked on what I hoped was the last of the paperwork. “I just have to keep telling myself that.”